Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wascally Wabbits and Beleaguered Bilbys

Easter is an odd time of year anyway, pre-Christian fertility rites co-opted in the spring. In Australia it's even odder, occurring as it does at the onset of autumn and winter (this year autumn is when the grass has started to grow again as the rain comes and the sun retreats, so perhaps not as odd for fertility as all that).

Two bilbies lurking on top of the cupboard.

However someone noted about a decade ago that celebrating the rabbit was a particularly obtuse thing for Australians to do, as the exotic, introduced rabbit is responsible for huge amounts of habitat destruction. One of the creatures particularly suffering from the depredations of rabbits (along with just about everyone else) is the Bilby, or given it's even neater longer name, the Rabbit-Eared Bandicoot (although a bilby isn't a bandicoot really, and is actually a Thylacomyidae for its sins). Rabbits think the bilby's niche fits them just fine, and so they've been even more marginalised than a small, tasty, squeeky marsupial usually is.

The bilby decides a dash for freedom is off, as the coffee table is being encircled by Toby, and dogs shouldn't eat chocolate, but will - given a chance. Such self sacrifice.

So they decided to introduce the Easter Bilby, funds going towards bilby protection and conservation, and bilby habitat reclamation. We bought a couple of Haigh's chocolate bilbies for our Easter, and I can't think of a better 'feel good' donation.

As one of the many Easter Bilby websites says:

The Australian Bilby Appreciation Society urges you to buy Bilbies not bunnies this Easter. For we will only be able to pressure the chocolate companies to donate money to help conserve the Bilby if people are buying chocolate Bilbies. However, we also suggest that you buy your Bilbies from companies that are supporting Bilby conservation and that you buy a few less chocolates this Easter, and use the money saved to make your own donation to Bilby conservation. Also, if the store you are shopping at doesn't stock Easter Bilbies, make a point of asking, "Where are all the bloody Bilbies?".

Too right mate. If you want to know a bit more about the real bilby, have a look at the wikipedia page here.

These two chocolate bilbies won't live to see another day (to protect those of a nervous disposition, and because we were eating, there are no further pictures of these bilbies) but because of them, maybe some other bilbies will. Ahhh.

James

1 comment:

Dawn said...

That's brilliant - in return I'll trade you a trip through our Asian market in Seattle.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/61009705@N00/sets/72157616106984142/

I wasn't lucky enough to have yummy treats at the end... I think I must have dome something wrong?!

Be well.